We will admit. We too were taken aback by the obsession that our fellow Singaporeans have on Hello Kitty – otherwise we would had setup a website to sell these toys & raise some funds to cover our overheads.
Unfortunately we do not have a “Hello Kitty analyst” within our team to determine the “fair market value” of a Hello Kitty plush toy or recommend a “Buy call” early enough for us. We might just think of adding such people now, so do send in your CVs!
For those of you who are still unaware, Singaporeans took a break yesterday from complaining about the haze to camp out at Macdonald outlets with many leaving disappointed as the “limited edition” toy was sold out quickly. Even the police were not spared, as they had to be called in to deal with a “rowdy queue cutter” – give him a break STOMP! Imagine his heartache when he went home to his daughter empty handed!
Why the craze?
Since we are no ‘Hello Kitty analysts’, we combed the Internet for our research material and incorporated it with a little bit of economic principles to attempt to uncover this strange Singaporean phenomenon.
1. Supply & Demand:
It is “limited edition” which means that Macdonald deliberately kept the supply low. Basic economic principle suggests that when demand outstrips supply, prices increase. Which explains all the scalper out there having a field day cashing in on their excess Hello Kitty.
Last we checked on Macdonald Facebook page, Hello Kitty “Singing Bones” could cost anything from between $50 – $100. A complete set – $500. Do not laugh; chances are someone on your Facebook page is frantically searching to get their hands on it at the moment and would be willing to pay that.
2. Herd Mentality:
People are always afraid of losing out when they see others around them enjoying profits, or in this case, a full set of Hello Kitty Plush Toys! The government had to incorporate cooling measures to stop people from flipping their properties for quick profits. Should the same be implemented for Hello Kitty? Should we not sieve out those who are just out looking to make a quick buck from those who are true Hello kitty lovers?
The herd mentality is an old school concept going back to the days where Tulips (yes the flowers!) were trading at up to 10 times the annual salary of a skilled worker. The thing about the herd mentality is that more often than not, those who are part of the “herd” have no idea of it themselves. Don’t be offended; we too have been guilty of chasing stocks so we know how it feels like to be in a herd.
3. A complete set:
“Singing Bones” was particularly popular because it represented “the end of the Hello Kitty Fairy Tales promotion”. Our insider tells us that the demand will be even greater because it completes the entire set.
For those who can’t relate to it, imagine playing monopoly and having 2 properties from a 3-colour suit and needing the last property to complete the set? You will pay over the top (or queue) just to get the final property isn’t it? If you were look to resell, a complete set would also hold an additional premium.
How much should I pay for “Singing Bones”?
As a financial website, it is important for us to also give our 2-cents worth on how much one should expect to pay for Hello Kitty “Singing Bones”. It is important not to simply think that $5 is the price and anyone selling above that is a heartless scalper.
Cost of Hello Kitty = $5
Cost of buying a meal = $4.50
Time spent queuing X cost per hour = 4 Hours X $6 = $24
Travelling Cost to Macdonald = $1
Travelling Cost back home = $10 (assuming you need to take a cab home since there is no buses after 12am)
Total Cost = $44.50
Additional 20% premium considering this is the last Hello Kitty of the Set = $53.40
See $50 is actually a good deal after all!
There have always been concerns about the lack of growth in productivity among Singaporeans and the Hello Kitty saga just proves the point. Thousands of working adults spending hours queuing overnight just to have a chance of getting their Hello Kitty cannot possibly be time well spent.
That said, just imagine if a company starts putting Hello Kitty up for grabs in their office for the earliest 5 employees each day? Will we have people starting work at 12am! Now that would be productive!
Original photo by 9GAG. Used with appreciation
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